What did we learn from Manchester United's latest defeat?
Sunderland won 2-1 against Manchester United in the first-leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final last night. Here are five things we learned about David Moyes’ men:
Januzaj is already vital to this United side
The brilliant Belgian was United’s only ray of light in an otherwise dour showing. He consistently threatened the Sunderland back-line and came close with a wonderful effort (with arguably his weaker foot) that was just inches wide of the far post.
As much as Moyes will not want to put too much pressure on the young forward’s shoulders, he may have to. A teenager he may be, but without him, United would have been devoid of any creative intent.
Rafael still has an impetuous streak
Despite watching his brother get sent off within minutes of joining the action against Swansea City at the weekend, Rafael almost copied Fabio, risking a second booking just moments after a caution for dissent.
Rafael was lucky to remain on the pitch, and despite his considerable improvement in recent seasons, there is still a question mark over some of his decision-making.
David Moyes needs to spend…now!
The United manager may have indicated that little transfer activity would happen this month, but in private he will know that without at least one new (quality) midfielder he faces the very real risk of finishing not just trophy-less but also outside the top four.
Given the revenue generated by Champions League participation (and his need to attract reinforcements next summer) that cannot happen.
Danny Welbeck is not the answer
The England international has enjoyed a fine few months and is now regularly scoring, but without Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie last night, United lacked any real goal-threat.
Welbeck ran around a lot – as he is prone to do – but he did not create any clear-cut chances for himself and failed to capitalise on the good play from Januzaj.
Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa may be on their way
Two of United’s most potent goal-threats both sat on the bench last night, with the Mexican only getting a few minutes to show what he could do.
Moyes has to decide if there is a place for them in his misfiring team; because if there is not, the queue for their services will be lengthy.
image: © Gordon Flood